When last we left Cerebus creator Dave Sim, he was contemplating a grim existence as his declining productivity and shrinking market place left him few recourses to make a living. Fortunately for all, he was saved from a life of dining on Fancy Feast by a Kickstarter campaign, the arrival of cover work from IDW, and an agreement to publish a print version of the digital High Society, whatever that is. And now, as he discusses in a post at A MOMENT OF CEREBUS, he’s found a new way to make money: selling artwork. But this being Dave Sim, there’s a whole campaign behind this plan. Sim has held on to a surprising amount of Cerebus artwork, and has no desire to sell it all; fortunately a small auction of 10 pieces at Heritage will, it is hoped, set up a pricing guideline so that future sales of IDW cover artwork will create an income:
A couple of weeks later, I thought, Maybe I’m being way too Rube Goldberg about this “how do I make a living in my fifties?” thing. Why not get basic and just do, say, four covers a month? So, I asked. Apprehensive that it would be, “Uh, no Dave — just MARS ATTACKS, okay?” Letting me figure out for myself that I’m a) too old and b) completely out of fashion. No, not YET anyway. They had, like, 19 titles for me to pick from. Warning me away from the franchises that tend to want to micromanage the property.
And then a couple of weeks later it occurred to me: hey, what if I auction the covers through Heritage? That was one of the things Lon and I went around and around about. You want to BUILD a market for your work. Put a bunch of pages in the catalogue, fine, but they also do weekly auctions. Get buyers used to the pages turning up on an on-going basis. This ties in with your next question, so go ahead.
As usual, Sim lays out his plans with more aplomb than we could muster to paraphrase, so you should read the whole post, really. Sim does ascribe the decline in his fortunes to what he calls “the political climate”:
I’m at the low ebb of earnings potential because of…let me be diplomatic…the political climate. I’m pretty sure the climate will change: you can’t ignore the only 6,000 page graphic novel forever, I don’t think but it has been ignored for twenty years and there’s no sign of it being paid attention to. People love Rockwell. People hate Dave Sim. So, for me, it requires more of a process of pulling the wagons in a circle and keeping my powder dry. Keeping myself and CEREBUS from being destroyed in my lifetime and for as long after I’m dead as proves to be necessary. I think about it a lot. I’m making progress.
Indeed—the auction for Heritage is going well so far, and Sim will be in New York this Thursday and Friday to sign autographs.
We’re thrilled to tell you that the great Dave Sim will be attending both days of our Comics auction this week, February 21 and 22. He will be signing autographs and doing sketches for fans (for free). Come meet him in person!
The auction will be held at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (aka Ukrainian Institute of America) at 2 E. 79th Street, New York, NY. The auction sessions begin at noon Eastern both days.
This Heritage action includes the original art to the first three WATCHMEN covers—all 12 will eventually be sold—making this one of the most significant comics art auctions in a while. The WATCHMEN covers are expected to go for six figures.
All of Sim’s fundraising is helping pay for the publication of , which actually looks pretty intriguing.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.